The FBI has been searching for a man in Colorado they’ve dubbed the “Good Grammar Bandit” because of the notes he leaves when robbing a bank.
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you are sure to know that I preach, among other things, the importance of good grammar.
Good grammar, proper usage and spelling all count. As communicators, we should all be concerned with making sure that what we say or write is clear and easily understood.
For one criminal terrorizing banks in Colorado, however, the elements of good grammar have become an interesting calling card, according to FBI investigators. The so-called “Good Grammar Bandit” is gaining notoriety for the impeccable nature of the holdup notes he leaves at crime scenes, they say.
And the unusually-proper grammar might wind up tying the robber to several other robberies with similarly well-constructed notes.
I wouldn’t expect authorities to actually release a copy of the note or to explain in much detail why these particular notes stand out compared to whatever they’re used to seeing at other crime scenes, but it’s clear that there’s enough of a difference that it’s noticeable.
It’s worth pointing out, of course, that the primary reason authorities would come up with a name like the “Good Grammar Bandit” is more for the media: the nickname helps people more easily understand the situation and and be more curious about it. When the media reports that kind of story and it gets attention from viewers or readers because of the nickname, the media sees the increased attention and will keep making mention of the case as new leads come in.
That helps investigators keep the public aware and can potentially increase the chances someone will provide the tip that helps police nab the robber once and for all, good grammar or not.
Despite some decent surveillance stills — at least as typical surveillance stills go — the man still hasn’t been found as far as I can tell.
My best advice: if you’re willing to use good grammar, at least do so for good.